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House NSA Vote ‘A Wake-Up Call for the White House,’ Says Senate Dem

Narrow vote to block phone-record collection builds unusual alliances and crashes party lines in defiance of administration.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

July 24, 2013 - 6:12 pm
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The House shot down in a surprisingly narrow, bipartisan vote a defunding of NSA surveillance activities offered by a maverick Tea Party GOP congressman and a veteran Democratic stalwart.

And though the Senate was occupied passing a student-loan interest rate compromise Wednesday afternoon, the significance of the pitched battle in the lower chamber was not lost on its members.

The amendment to the defense appropriations bill offered by Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) failed 205-217 — a margin that one Democrat said put the White House on notice about the National Security Agency programs unveiled by contractor Edward Snowden.

“National security is of paramount importance, yet the NSA’s dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records violates innocent Americans’ privacy rights and should not continue as its exists today,” Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said after the vote.

“The U.S. House of Representatives’ bipartisan vote today proposal should be a wake-up call for the White House,” Udall added. “I am urging the president and the NSA to join this growing bipartisan coalition and work with Congress to focus the NSA’s surveillance efforts on terrorists and spies — not innocent Americans.”

The White House came out strongly against the Amash amendment last night, as did a coalition of former national security officials from the George W. Bush administration.

After the roll call, 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats voted with Amash, while 134 GOPs and 83 Dems voted against the amendment. The “yeas” included alliances as diverse as Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The “no” votes included Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) was among the committee leaders circulating a “dear colleague” letter warning that a vote for the amendment would gut national security.

After the vote, Rogers took a victory lap with Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).

“The program addressed gaps in the nation’s ability to track terrorists planning attacks in the United States. Over the years, it has proven effective in identifying and disrupting multiple terrorist threats and saving countless American lives. The charge that the program tramples on the privacy of citizens is simply wrong,” the pair said in a joint statement. “This program balances our duty to protect the privacy of our fellow Americans with the equal duty to protect the nation.”

“As the bill moves to conference with the Senate, we will work to foster stronger public confidence in the program’s privacy protections to ensure that we retain this important national security tool,” Rogers and Ruppersberger added.

The amendment debate took on shades of Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) filibuster on drones, stealing the top spots on Twitter’s trending topics and bringing groups such as Anonymous to the side of the GOP lawmaker. One noticeable cheerleader was Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story.

But whereas one Democrat stepped in to help Paul with his 13-hour filibuster, party lines came crashing down over the Amash amendment as lawmakers stepped to the pro and con microphones.

Amash and Conyers were joined on the amendment to block telephone metadata collection funding for the NSA by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Tom Massie (R-Ky.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.).

“Our amendment would have ended the NSA’s overbroad collection of Americans’ information by limiting the FISA court’s collection of telephone records to only those records that pertain to a person who is actually the subject of an investigation. We should gather information about potential terrorists, but there is no reason that the NSA needs the personal information of our friends and neighbors who are not even under any investigation,” Polis said.

“The government’s overly broad collection of telephone meta-data began as part of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping programs under the Patriot Act, which is one reason I have been a vocal opponent of the Patriot Act,” he added. “However, I believe that even many Americans who supported the Patriot Act never intended that it would allow for the indiscriminate collection of Americans’ telephone calls to their families, colleagues, and friends.”

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Top Rated Comments   
The Gestapo and the NSA - same show just under a different tent.

1 year ago
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All Comments   (16)
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my co-worker's step-mother makes $88/hour on the internet. She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $13193 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here's the site to read more http://www.wep6.com
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you think Ricky`s story is incredible,, four weaks-ago my neighbour also got a cheque for $4555 working ninteen hours a week at home and their best friend's mom`s neighbour was doing this for five months and recieved a check for over $4555 in their spare time at their labtop. follow the guide from this address...... www.Yad7.com
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As President Post Turtle says: another Phony Scandal, these aren't the droids you're looking for, move along (to my manufactured race war.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A wake up call for the White House you say? I say it's a wake up call for every citizen of this country. The house of Representatives just voted in the majority to continue to allow the federal government to operate an illegal Spy On America program. I would hope that every citizen remember how your representatives voted and remember it the next time they are up for election. VOTE THEM OUT NOW!!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey! The NSA snooping is LEGAL. The secret FISA court just extended their right to snoop for another 3 months; a full court press to load Obama's Data Hub with all our info, up and running for 2014 and beyond ... of course the WH is against any amendment that could jeopardize their power grab.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Gestapo and the NSA - same show just under a different tent.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The NSA has become very Stasi like, and even then some, so the only ones who are for it are very Stasi like, and even then some.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is little doubt that nothing is scarier to Americans, even regular Demsters, than knowing that the gov't is "all seeing". In other words, there is NO legitimate reason for total spying, unless it is for non-democratic purposes. Therefore, they joined forces.
Dare this reality be true? It is - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/07/05/the-snowden-affair-nsas-outing-what-is-obama-inc-really-afraid-of-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
----- a maverick Tea Party GOP congressman and a veteran Democratic stalwart ... national security ... Conyers ...

I think I need to vomit.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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